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Feb 13, 2009 08:58 AM

Asian Grocery West Side?

My boyfriend and I just decided to embark on an exploration of Asian food in our home cooking. Generally we try to cook a lot at home, but lately we've both been craving Asian food and every night it seems we're ordering in Thai or heading out for Pho, so we decided to bring it into the kitchen. Step one, stocking the pantry with the necessary staples. Can anyone recommend a good Asian Food Market on the West Side? We live in Venice.


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  1. In your area, you're more likely to get expensive "Asian inspired" stuff which may or may not be authentic. Certainly you'll be able to find a small selection of Asian groceries in standard supermarkets, but as I said it will be of varying quality/authenticity and I guarantee it will be more expensive than it would be at a proper Asian market.

    The closest Asian supermarket that I can think of would be the Ranch 99 in Van Nuys. Once you're up that way, you can check out the bazillion little shops and supermarkets in the "Thai Gulch" on Sherman Way where you're sure to find a lifetime supply of fish sauce, rice noodles, and even the occasional frozen insect. I guarantee Whole Foods or Ralph's won't be carrying those. ;)

    Oh yes, of course there Mitsuwa on the westside, but that's Japanese, not SE Asian like what you've posted about.

    Mr Taster

    1 Reply
    1. re: Mr Taster

      I'll check out Mitsuwa first and then see what else I need. Thanks!

    2. mitsuwa on venice/centinela
      nijiya on sawtelle/olympic

      1. Mitsuwa (Venice & Centinela). It's pretty small and the selection isn't great but it's a good start. Koreatown would be your next closest. Galleria Market (Olympic & Western) is probably the nicest and cleanest. There's a Korean market at Olympic & Vermont and 2 more along Western. Obviously these are more Korean-centric but they tend to have a decent selection of other Asian ingredients.

        3 Replies
        1. re: soniabegonia

          I'm more concerned with cheap with a good selection than nice and clean. Does Galleria fit the bill?

          1. re: Cebca

            I sounds like Ranch 99 and Thai Gulch markets are exactly what you need.

            The market in the Koreatown Galleria is very clean, very big and pretty expensive. (A recent Korean houseguest told me "It's more Korean than in Korea!") There are less expensive supermarkets all over Koreatown but I don't know the names. One is near Olympic and Vermont. I believe there's another one if you head north on Vermont, on the right side. But again, these are Korean markets. Their selection of kimchi will astound, but their selection of fish sauce will not.

            Mr Taster

            1. re: Mr Taster

              I dont' think Galleria market is that expensive. It's certainly competitive with other Korean markets and certainly cheaper than Mitsuwa, the OP's closest option. Their produce tends to be better than other Korean markets. It's definitely not cheaper than 99 Ranch but not many markets are. Also, Korean markets do carry a decent selection of fish sauce, including SE Asian brands. Korean brands are usually labeled "anchovy sauce." It's an essential ingredient in kimchi.

        2. Simpang Asia is the closest place. Ranch 99 in Van Nuys the closest place with a large selection.

          7 Replies
            1. re: Cebca

              simpang is geared towards indonesian.

              here's the addy:

              Simpang Asia
              10433 National Blvd 2, Los Angeles, CA 90034

              1. re: wilafur

                Simpang Asia is pretty small and offers mostly dry goods. They do have a small amount of produce and have some refrigerated/frozen items. The food in the cafe is pretty darned good as well. Thai or Vietnamese, it is not, but it is welcomed and enjoyed by Indonesians and Malaysians alike...

                1. re: bulavinaka

                  do you know if they regularly stock kafir lime leaf, lemon grass and galangal? thanks in advance.

                  1. re: anothernotch

                    They definitely stock lemongrass in the produce section, but I haven't seen galangal. Keffir lime leaves I've not seen when I've been there. It's a good place to get some Thai food basics, like fish sauce or coconut milk, but the produce area is pretty small.

                    1. re: anothernotch

                      I have seen lime leaves (packed in plastic bags) in the refrigerated foods section at the back of the store. Do they store them regularly? I don't know.

                      At Bangluck Market, in Hollywood, we were told that we would only find them in the summer months. We purchased 6-8 bags, transferred them to Ziploc bags, and keep them in the freezer, ready to use.

                      1. re: beezees

                        99 Ranch has them year round, and they freeze decently (not perfectly).

                        I'm with Mr Taster here. Unless you go at 5:30 PM, Van Nuys is not that far away. NoHo is further but worth it, or the SGV is only 20-25 minutes from UCLA with no traffic.

            2. It is difficult for me to rate your priorities -- Cheap produce prices? Authentic and scarce ingredients? Imported dried products? Any particular ethnicity? (So far, suggestions are oriented towards Japanese or Korean, while Indian spices are sold at Bharat Bazaar on Washington and there is an interesting bulk spice selection in containers at a kiosk at the Santa Monica Co-op. There are Mexican groceries or produce shops on Venice or thereabouts with vastly cheaper produce than even farmers' markets, which stock gorgeous fresh samples but usually cost as much as the supermarkets.

              2 Replies
              1. re: nosh

                She said "Asian" and then qualified it with Thai and Vietnamese, and then said she wanted it on the westside, then she said she wanted cheap.

                Thai/Vietnam - check
                Cheap - check
                Westside - **buzz**

                It's the westside thing that makes the request an impossible one.

                Thai Gulch NoHo and Thai Town Hollywood are really her only options. Thai Town is actually closer by miles, but Thai Gulch will be faster if you go when the 405 isn't busy (like 3am on a Wednesday ;)

                Mr Taster

                1. re: Mr Taster

                  I just mentioned the West Side thing to orient everyone - I live in LA, I have a car, I can drive, but would prefer somewhere as close as possible. If its not superclose, okay, I will deal with it.

                  Produce I'm not really concerned with - even with the price issue I will buy my produce at Farmer's Markets because I like to buy local and think it is important to support California farms and farmers. It is pantry items that I am looking for, so variety of dry/shelved goods and cheap prices are my priorities.